Subfamily CUCULINAE

This comprises the true Cuckoos, almost all of which have parasitic breeding-habits. The most marked external characters are that the tarsus is more or less feathered in front (least in Coccystes, which, however, may be easily recognized by being crested) and that the wing is more or less pointed. The tail (except in Coccystes) scarcely exceeds or does not exceed the wing in length. The plumage is firm but not spiny.

Other characters of this subfamily are the absence of an accessory femoro-caudal muscle (Garrod, P. Z. S. 1874, p. 141), and the simple undivided band of feathers on each side of the naked pectoro-ventral tract (Beddard, P. Z. S. 1885, p. 174).

It is possible that Coccystes may prove, when the anatomy and pterylosis are examined, to belong to the Phoenicophainae. It and Eudynamis are in some respects intermediate between the typical forms of the two subfamilies.

Key to the Genera.

a. No crest.
a1. Secondaries in closed wing scarcely exceeding half length of primaries……………….Cuculus, p. 204.
b1. Secondaries two-thirds length of primaries or more. a2. Tail rounded and graduated.
a3. Larger: plumage hawk-like; tail with 3 or 4 black cross-bands……………….HIEROCOCCYX, p. 211.
b3. Smaller, not larger than a Thrush ; tail without cross-bands or with far more than 4.
a4. Plumage without metallic colours.
a5. Young and adult differently coloured; bill compressed; tail-feathers the same length throughout……………….CACOMANTIS, p. 216.
b5. Young and adult similar; bill stout, not compressed; tail-feathers narrower behind……………….PENTHOCERYX, p. 219.
b4. Plumage partly metallic green or violet……………….CHRYSOCOCCYX, p. 220.
b2. Tail square or forked; plumage black……………….SURNICULUS, p. 223.
b. Head crested; tarsi almost naked ……………….COCCYSTES, p. 224.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily CUCULINAE
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1895
Page No: 
204
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
1542

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